When people heard that Rob and I would travel to Mykonos every summer, year after year and stay two, three and even four weeks, they’d always ask a version of one question “Don’t you get bored?”. Or, even something like, “I’ve been on a cruise, saw everything there was to see in a day. How could you possibly stay a month?”. Our answer, “We like an immersive experiences when we travel, not just seeing the sights.”
For us, a month in Mykonos allowed us time to truly relax, visit local farms, be beach bums and actually unwind and be on holiday. It took us out of day-to-day life, exposed us to things that are new and different than the other 11 months per year. It gave us inspiration for new businesses and seeds for new passions.
The Common Traveler
This year I’ve watched many of my social media friends come to Italy, spend just a few hours in Florence and say that they saw everything. Cue a massive sigh from Michelangelo and his famous friends. Maybe they saw the famous Ponte Vecchio bridge, took pictures of the Duomo, ate some pasta, cooled off with gelato and walked past the fake David in front of Palazzo Vecchio, assumed the real one looks the same (so why bother with the line, right?).
This is the most common type of traveler. Their goal is to make the most of their trip and see as much as possible in the shortest amount of time. I understand getting the bang for your buck. Travel is expensive and you want to see as much as you can. But is seeing the highlights of a city really bringing you the value? You go home with a few pictures, a t-shirt of David blowing bubblegum and vague memory of the pasta dish you ordered at the tourist trap.
This may sound harsh, but from my perspective, you’re missing the point of what travel is all about. When you travel, you have an opportunity to grow, learn about a new culture, develop new passions, get inspired to try something new and it can completely shift your lifestyle and bring a deeper sense of joy and passion to your day-to-day life.
How can you do that in a day? How can you do that on a tour of 100 people with a tour operator spewing facts in an earpiece? That’s not engaging. And, from the look I see on most of the exhausted tourists faces, it’s boring.
Action vs. Observation
Think back to school. Where did you learn more and have more fun – Biology CLASS or biology LAB?
Hands down, the studies are clear – you retain more information, have clearer memories and more FUN when you DO THINGS vs. observe. And yet, on vacations, the average tour is observational only.
However, immersive experiences are hands-on, interactive and ACTION oriented. When you engage in a new, hands on experience, studies have shown it gives your brain rest, improves your mood and challenges your brain to work in a different way.
Plus,immersive experiences provide a new perspective and tap into all of your senses – what you see, the sounds you hear, the new tastes and smells and most importantly, how it makes you feel.
Lifestyle Changing Immersion
A friend ours used to eat every meal in a restaurant. Life was busy, building a business takes a lot of time and bandwidth and cooking was the last thing on their mind. Then, he visited Italy. Instead of seeing the sights, he did a hands-on cooking class and learned about making pasta from scratch. It was meditative and fun. It inspired him. Then, he traveled to another region, and learned from a local piazzolo about the art of making pizza, the importance of fresh, quality ingredients and how to properly cook a pizza in a wood burning oven.
Fast forward a few years, he has tapped into a new passion for cooking. He now cooks and eats most meals at home, from scratch (including pasta), and has a real, wood fire pizza oven at him home in the USA. How do you think this improved his overall life and fulfillment?
This didn’t happen because he took a few photos of a major landmark. He immersed himself into an experience and it quite literally, changed his day-to-day life. Additionally, this new passion has brought massive joy and created an entire new dimension to his lifestyle.
THAT is exactly how an immersive experience can change your life.
Rob and I have been traveling in an immersive way for almost twenty years. Whether it’s finding the local, restaurant with no-electricity and no sign in Mykonos, learning how to blend wine in France or being invited into Nonno‘s kitchen, on a lesser known Sicilian island, so he can show us how Granita and Gelato are very different – our travel is always immersive. We know how important this type of travel has in changing our life, and we want to share this style of travel with as many people as possible.
Over the last five years, we’ve brought full, immersive experiences to our Work Hard Play Hard and Platinum Experiences, such as driving a Ferrari in the city in which they’re created, on our way to a private lunch at Chef Massimo Bottura‘s villa. Sounds bougie, but there’s so much more depth to the flash. As we drove, we stopped along the way to learn how the local parmesan and balsamic vinegar are made. And, not just any factory, we learned from in the exact places that the famed Chef sources his ingredients.
We cracked open a wheel of parmesan, taste-tested the multiple aged options, and went through a similar process with the vinegar. Seeing the process, the art and the time that goes into these ingredients elevated our understanding and gave us much more appreciation for the meal that we devoured.
That’s just one, simple example.
Rob & Kim’s Italia Experience
Since moving to Florence, we have changed so much. The daily immersion is causing us to question so many aspects of our life and make positive changes. We’ve never been happier, more fulfilled and enjoyed our life more than we do today.
And, we want to share this life with people who are ready for a shift. We realize that not everyone can move to Italy, but you can visit us! We are dedicated to creating bucket-list, immersive Italy-based experiences for our upcoming Rob & Kim’s Italia Experiences in October 2023 (2 spots left) and May 2024 (Early Registration is OPEN!).
Our Experiences aren’t your normal vacation. And, they’re not for everyone. If you’re looking for the cheapest way to see the most, we’re not for you. If you prefer to just snap the sights and move on, again, we’re not for you.
But if you’re looking for an experience that will make a lasting imprint on your life, bring you new passions, joy and a new perspective – then we’d love to see you in Italy.